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Thursday, 17 October 2019
Thursday, 17 October 2019 10:15

EU, Britain close to new exit deal

The EU and Britain are close to working out an elusive Brexit deal late Wednesday, just in time to be submitted to a key European summit.

If a text emerges forming the basis of a legal treaty, Britain could be headed for a managed withdrawal from the European bloc it has been part of for nearly half a century.

Otherwise, the Brexit crisis that has sapped UK politics for the past three years could worsen, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could make good on a vow to take his country out of the EU without a deal in two weeks’ time.

“I’d like to believe a deal is being finalised,” French President Emmanuel Macron said alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in southern France as negotiators in Brussels worked frantically.

European sources warned it was not a done deal, with one stressing “talks continue” and another declaring: “There is still no white smoke.”

“We’re almost there,” the second one said, adding: “Everything is resolved except the application of VAT in Northern Ireland.”

There was pessimism a breakthrough would happen Wednesday night, with attention focused on a possible announcement early Thursday — immediately before the start of the EU summit.

Macron, Merkel and other European leaders at that gathering in Brussels aim to decide whether to give the go-ahead to officials to draw up a final withdrawal treaty with Britain.

“The basic foundations of an agreement are ready and in theory tomorrow (Thursday) we could accept this deal with Great Britain and avoid the chaos and the misfortune linked to an uncontrolled, chaotic exit,” Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said on Poland’s TVN24 news.

Published in World

Bearish sentiments on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) further depleted the market capitalisation to N12.89 trillion in Wednesday’s trading sessions. The NSE All Share Index closed at 26,472.20, shedding 0.16%. Year to date the make is down 15.78%.

Top 5 gainers

Law Union and Rock Insurance led the top 5 gainers with a 9.09% gain to close at N0.48. Livestock Feeds followed with a 6.38% gain to close at N0.50.

Cornerstone Insurance gained 5% to close at N0.37. The stock has maintained gains since the first trading day of the week.

Dangote Flour Mills (one of the stocks on our watchlist) gained 3.34% to close at N23.20. Africa Prudential rounds up the top 5 gainers with a 2.56% gain to close at N4.

Top 5 losers

On the losing side, Wapic Insurance was hit with the biggest loss of 8.57% to close at N0.32. Chams followed with 8.57%, closing at N0.22. Sterling Bank had a 7.69% loss to close at N1.80.

Lafarge Africa closed at N15.35, losing 4.06%. Ecobank rounds up the top 5 decliners with a 2.78% loss to close at N7.

Top 5 trades

Wednesday’s trading session recorded 138.5 million shares valued at N3.6 billion traded in 2,487. Access Bank topped the top 5 trades by volume with 20.7 million shares valued at N153.4 million traded in 151 deals. Global Spectrum Energy Services Plc still traded large today with 20 million shares valued at N94 million traded in 4 deals.

Zenith Bank traded 14.9 million shares valued at N266.4 million in 304 deals. 14.4 million Transcorp shares valued at N14.6 million were traded in 37 deals. FBN Holdings rounds up the top 5 trades by volume with 10.9 million shares valued at N58.3 million traded in 112 deals.

Published in Business

According to the Q3 2019 financial statement released by Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) for the period ended September 30, 2019, the bank posted a revenue of N224.2 billion, 5.6% less than N237.5 billion recorded in the same period of 2018.

The bank, however, recorded and increased profit before tax (PBT) of N170.7 billion as against N164.1 billion in 2018. This represent a 3.9% increase in PBT.

The bank also made a profit after tax (PAT) of N146.99 billion as against N142.2 billion, representing a 3.4% increase.

GTBank made N48.4 billion from fees and commissions, compared to N40.3 billion in 2018. This suggests that fee and commission income increased by 19.9%.

The bank incurred N27.3 billion paying salaries and other allowances. This is 2.9% less than the amount spent in 2018.

GTBank gained 1.31%, closing at N27 from trading session on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

Published in Bank & Finance

What we eat is changing on a global scale. Changes in the types of food that are available and affordable, where we buy food and how we prepare it carry significant consequences for nutrition and health.

Until the 20th century, the key nutritional issue was that people could not afford sufficient food or the necessary nutrients. But nowadays, the single most important issue is the co-existence of undernutrition – lack of access to sufficient quantities of food – and overnutrition – excessive consumption of food.

Across the world, calorie intake is on the rise and so is consumption of vegetable oils, meats and ultra-processed foods. Overall, imbalanced diets and multiple, at times opposite, nutritional problems are at the core of today’s public health challenges. Middle-income countries like Ghana embody this ambivalence. They show the highest increased consumption of unhealthy foods, but also improvements in consumption of healthy foods.

The shifts in diet and lifestyle are undeniable. But a key question remains unanswered: how does the globalisation of food systems affect different groups? Given the multiple burdens of malnutrition, it is important to understand who is more likely to suffer from undernutrition or from obesity.

To address this question, we did research that combined a detailed investigation of diets with the analysis of food systems. The aim of our study of food consumption among school children in Accra was to understand diets and contextualise them in social and economic living conditions within the urban food landscapes.

We explored food consumption among school children from different socio-economic backgrounds in Accra. We carried out a student survey in five junior high schools in the Accra Metropolitan Area. We did qualitative interviews with schoolchildren, representatives of the food industry and public officials.

Our findings reveal that inequality and dietary change frame today’s urban food question in Accra. Socio-economic status is a critical dimension of diets, with poorer children more vulnerable to food insecurity and fewer food choices.

But the consumption of packaged and processed foods, often sugar-rich and nutrient-poor, cuts across wealth groups.

Ensuring that urban populations have access to affordable food, a long-standing goal of agricultural and food policy, is essential but no longer sufficient. Quality matters too. Understanding how unhealthy diets take root requires exploring the role of the food industry in making cheap, enticing and unhealthy food options available to urban residents.

The background

Urban diets are changing, as agricultural and food systems have become globalised and created new forms of food production, distribution, and trade. The nutritional implications for the Global South are seen in rising obesity and non-communicable diseases alongside persisting food insecurity and old-fashioned food policies.

Understanding how patterns of globalisation affect the welfare of populations is a key development question. But we don’t know very much about the way that the globalisation of food and agriculture systems affects different individuals or groups.

Research suggests that dietary change will be experienced differently by rich and poor, and by urban and rural populations.

In Ghana, national statistics suggest that there is a story of dietary change with remarkable reduction, but not elimination, of hunger and under-nutrition. Alongside this there’s rising overweight and obesity, particularly in urban areas, among wealthier people and women.

Ghana is self-sufficient in the production of maize, cassava and yam but is reliant on imports of rice, wheat and meat. Diets are becoming less reliant on cereals and imports of dairy products, poultry and sugar have been on an upward trend since the mid-1990s.

This may indicate that diets are becoming more diverse. But estimates of imports don’t allow us to rule out concerns about the deterioration of diets. Ghana is one of the fastest-growing markets for packaged foods and snacks, in particular. Crucially, we need to consider these changes in food production and trade in the context of rising inequality in the country.

What we found

Official statistics tend to portray socio-economic and nutrition inequality as reflecting urban-rural divides. But our study sheds light on the significance of food inequality within an urban area.

Through the daily lives of schoolchildren, we found that that children have access to different types of food depending on where they live and which school they go to.

Some schools have a canteen and others do not; children whose schools don’t have a canteen rely on food street vendors to meet their food needs during the day.

As expected, our results show that children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds are more vulnerable to food insecurity, lower dietary diversity and poor food consumption. Food insecurity, far from being a rural problem, concerns the urban poor too. Low or irregular access to money, most likely linked to low and fluctuating household incomes, poses a major obstacle to the ability of children to buy the food they need during the school day.

A group of children in the sample have their first meal at the first or second break at school. These are children from poorer backgrounds, a finding that suggests that low or irregular incomes determine the number of meals children can have.

Though it is clear that urban food inequality is driven by wealth, the dynamics are complex. Take the consumption of packaged and processed foods. These foods don’t only feature in the diets of the wealthier groups but cut across wealth groups and peak for those in the middle. They are desirable, accessible and relatively affordable.

The food industry makes effective use of informal distribution channels, making packaged foods widely available in the markets, on the streets and, particularly, in the proximity of schools.

What needs to be done

Informal distribution is an important aspect of the urban food landscape. Knowing which foods are healthy or unhealthy does not stop children from consuming foods that are enticing and affordable.

It’s therefore essential to consider the food industry’s role when it comes to food environments that offer unhealthy, cheap and enticing options.The Conversation


Sara Stevano, Research Associate, International Political Economy, King's College London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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